Howlite - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: Ca2B5SiO9(OH)5, Calcium Boro-silicate Hydroxide

Class: Silicates and carbonates

Subclass: Nesosilicates and borates

Uses: Source of boron, as an ornamental stone for carved beads, figurines and polished cabochons, as a turquoise substitute and as mineral specimens.

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Howlite was discovered near Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1868 by Henry How (1828 - 1879), a Canadian chemist, geologist, and mineralogist. Henry How was alerted to the unknown mineral by miners in a gypsum quarry, who found it to be a nuisance.

Howlite is a white to grey stone that has erratic streaks that look like cracks. These lines are often brown, grey or black. Howlite is a silicate that can be found in large masses.

Howlite as is often a confusing mineral to classify. The silicon atom in its formula would normally require its classification as a silicate mineral. But some classification schemes prefer to place howlite with other borate minerals in the carbonates class because it has five borons to only one silicon and that its character and formation are more in line with other borate minerals such as colemanite, ulexite, borax and kernite.

Origin Of The Name

The name Howlite comes from the a man names Henry How (1828-1879), Canadian chemist, geologist, and mineralogist, University of King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada, who first described the species.

Interesting Facts

Howlite is commonly used to make decorative objects such as small carvings or jewelry components. Because of its porous texture, howlite can be easily dyed to imitate other minerals, especially turquoise because of the superficial similarity of the veining patterns. The dyed howlite (or magnesite) is marketed as turquenite. Howlite is also sold in its natural state, sometimes under the misleading trade names of "white turquoise" or "white buffalo turquoise," or the derived name "white buffalo stone."

Where Is It Found

California is the source for almost all of the howlite trade where nodules of up to one hundred pounds have been found.

Howlite is found in continental evaporite deposits with other borate and evaporite minerals. It forms in nodules that appear like the heads of cauliflower, crystals faces on the nodules are rare. Veins of black web-like streaks often are interlaced throughout the nodules, adding to their character. Slabs of howlite are often painted with scenes and designs that make artistic use of these veins.

The most common form of howlite is irregular nodules, sometimes resembling cauliflower. Crystals of howlite are rare, having been found in only a couple localities worldwide.

What Do We Do With It

Howlite is a porous stone that accepts dyes easily. That's why it is perfect for making imitation turquoise, red coral and lapis because of the natural veined or web-like marbled streaks found in it. Dyed howlite stone is sold as jewelry or carved into figures. This makes very beautiful items that imitates the real thing but is much more cost effective. Most people will not even be able to tell the difference between the dyed howlite and the real turquoise, red coral or lapis. There are still many out there today who will pawn it off as the real mcCoy, so don't be fooled.

Howlite is beautiful and decorative. The stone is on the softer side, rather than hard, but is distinctly tough. This makes it perfect for jewelry making and keeps lower prices for consumers who want such beautiful gemstones.

Metaphysical Uses

Howlite is an extremely calming stone. When placed under the pillow it is excellent for insomnia when it is caused by an overactive mind. Howlite links into the spiritual dimensions preparing the mind to receive wisdom and insight.

Often called the "Attunement Atone," Howlite is known to link the user to higher spiritual consciousness, and open and prepare the mind to receive the energies and wisdom of attunements. This is a great stone to set under a chair or to hold in your hand while giving or receiving energy attunements.

Use Howlite to open the Third-Eye in preparation for attunements and meditations. By encouraging visualization, Howlite can boost creativity. It is also often used for past-life regression therapy, or even to remember one's existence between two lives, which can help with learning of one's original purpose of incarnation.

Howlite also brings mental awareness, both to current and past-life issues, and facilitates calm communication of these issues. Keep a piece of Howlite in your pocket to absorb anger and negative energy, and to release selfishness, while still maintaining a desire to achieve one's goals. It encourages patience by instilling an awareness of the inherent perfection of the Universe and a knowledge that all is as it should be. Howlite helps us to relate to those around us by removing any tendency to be critical and doubtful of others.

Physical Characteristics

Color: White with gray to black streaks, web-like markings and blotches.

Luster: Dull to sub-vitreous (porcelaneous) and earthy.

Transparency: Crystals are opaque to translucent.

Crystal System: Monoclinic; 2/m

Crystal Habits: Cauliflower-like nodules and compact sometimes micaceous masses. Crystals are rare, but minute (1mm size) tabular six sided crystals sometimes aggregated into rosettes are found and some nodules will have crystal faces on their surfaces (mostly from Nova Scotia).

Cleavage: Absent

Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven.

Hardness: 3.5

Specific Gravity: 2.5 - 2.6

Streak: White

Associated Minerals: Colemanite, ulexite, anhydrite, gypsum, colemanite and clays.

Best Field Indicators: Nodular character, color, solubility in HCl, luster, lack of cleavage and softness.

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